Multiple Choice Questions are a type of exam format where a question is presented with 2 or more options to choose from. Due to its many benefits, MCQs are fast replacing the traditional ‘subjective’ type exam pattern. They are more effective at testing specific knowledge and accuracy. Multiple choice questions are short and to the point, preventing wastage of time in the evaluation process.
Online digital educational platforms use MCQs as their preferred mode of examination as it is easy to conduct them. As MCQ papers are so different from traditional question papers, the methods to prepare for them are also different. Here are some tips to help you score in an MCQ-based exam:
- Go through all the questions and answer the ones you are sure of first - The first thing you must do after receiving the question paper is read it thoroughly. Try to answer the questions yourself without reading the options provided. Then select the one which is closest to your answer. This will prevent the confusion caused by multiple choices available to you. You can answer the questions you are absolutely sure of first and then come back to the others.
- Read and follow all instructions - The instructions at the beginning of the question paper will guide you on how to proceed. Skipping these instructions to save time is a bad idea. Often there are different rules to answer different parts of the question paper. The division of marks is also mentioned with the instructions. You might know the answer to a certain question but make a mistake while answering it due to a lack of clarity about the rules.
- Do not waste too much time on a single question - While some questions may be easy and direct, others can appear complex and time-consuming. It is best not to waste too much time on any one question. They may all carry the same marks. Taking too much time to answer a few questions may lead to a shortage of time to complete the exam. You might have to skip the ones you know.
- Employ the process of elimination -Elimination in MCQ-based exams is the process of ruling out choices on the basis of your knowledge and common sense. Once you have eliminated the options that are certainly wrong, it becomes easier for you to choose from the remaining options. It also helps you increase the number of questions you attempt. The process of elimination takes practice to master. If you are not confident with it, you should stick to your instinct.
- Analyze trick questions - Some questions have negative phrases such as ‘not’, ‘never’, which change the meaning of the question entirely. If you miss out on these single phrases, then your answer will be incorrect even when you know the correct answer. Indirect questions can also be difficult to understand if not read carefully. The language of the question may be confusing. This often leads to misunderstanding the meaning of the question. Try to break the question down into simpler parts and then understand it. The question will become clearer this way.
- Do not hurry through - Take your time to answer each question calmly to avoid silly mistakes. Rushing through the exam can lead to misreading of questions and even missing questions entirely. You must address each question patiently so that you can review your answer as well. Time management is a skill that can help you divide your time proportionately among all the questions. While it is good to keep an eye on your digital watch, looking over and over again can cause unnecessary stress.
- Review all the options - Even if you think you know the answer to a particular question, read through all the options to see whether all the options are correct or if any two of them are correct. There may be an option like All of the above that might be the correct answer. It is also possible that all the given answers are incorrect, in which case, none of the above will be the correct option.
- Make informed guesses -In multiple-choice questions, guesswork can be your friend or your foe. If you have to make a guess, make an educated one. You can use the knowledge that you have, along with probability. Even if you do not know the correct answer for sure, you may have some idea about which choice is most likely to be correct. In cases of negative marking, it is best to make informed guesses rather than to make blind guesses, as it will negatively affect your score.
- Trust your instincts - When you are confused between two or more options, trust your instinct. Your first choice is often the right one. You may not know why you are choosing a certain option, but it is better than skipping the question. When the syllabus is vast, and you have studied it well, you can recall specific information without thinking about the whole topic.
- Hints in the question - Often, there are clues in the question that lead straight to the answer. Reading the question multiple times will help you identify the hints hidden in the question. Sometimes, you will only be able to eliminate options on the basis of these hints, but they are still useful.
These tips will help you navigate through any Multiple-Choice-Question-based exam. You will be able to apply these tips better with practice. Sample papers will help you understand which tip works for you and how. While tips and tricks can make your journey easier, there is no fixed formula to score a 100% on an MCQ-based exam other than sincerity and hard work. This list is not exhaustive; you can come up with your own innovative techniques to attempt Multiple Choice Questions.